Childhood trauma…

Aug 16, 2020

Royal Gazette (Bermuda) – Victoria Greening
Kindness in court: a novel approach

The concern comes from the realization that childhood trauma is a major factor in children winding up in prison.  An approach called adverse childhood experiences — or Aces – seeks to mitigate the impact of children in care eventually suffering enough trauma that their future is already determined.  “Experts in Aces believe that one stable, nurturing adult is enough to rescue a child from such stress and provide a buffer. Adults who have suffered trauma can also be salvaged by such care. The Harvard Centre for the Development of the Child states: “Researchers provide three principles — reducing stress, building positive relationships and strengthening life skills — as the best long-term preventive to combat Aces.””

National Post – Staff and Jonathan Bradley
Canada’s correctional institutions released thousands of inmates in the early days of COVID-19 – Overall, there was a 16 per cent drop in the inmate population in Canadian correctional institutions during the early days of the pandemic

The report covers a full calendar year and is not conclusive that the cause of the decline in provincial jail populations is directly attributable to prevention of the Covid-19 virus.  It includes those released by time expiry and parole, as well as early release of those near end of sentence.  Federal institutions are showing only a 1% decline.  The federal sentence is excess of two years and generally more stable than provincial sentences of less than two years.  There is little clarity about response to actual Covid-19.   Statistics Canada:  Changes in federal, provincial and territorial custodial populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, April 2019 to April 2020

NDP: Leah Gazan, MP Winnipeg Centre:  Call to support M-46 to establish universal basic income

The link acknowledges that the result of supporting those impacted by the Covid-19 virus betrayed the many precarious inequities and shortfalls of adequate income.  The link contains the rationale and a petition to replace the Covid-19 emergency funding with the GAI.

Prison Policy Initiatives (US) – Alexi Jones and Wendy Sawyer
Not just “a few bad apples”: U.S. police kill civilians at much higher rates than other countries – Police violence is a systemic problem in the U.S., not simply incidental, and it happens on a scale far greater than other wealthy nations.

The stats are always astounding but in this case Canada has an unenviable second place to the number of people killed by police with the frequency measured against per 10 million population.  Besides the shock at the numbers we may also wish to know why so many countries have little or no incidents of police killing civilians and what their police training involves to so eliminate the incidents.  The graphs are excellent and clear.

Toronto Star – Michael Tutton
Assoun case shows police accountability in wrongful convictions lacking, experts say

Assoun was convicted in1999 “of the murder of Brenda Way, who was found with her throat slashed in a Dartmouth, N.S., parking lot in November 1995. The crime remains unsolved.”  Assoun spent 17 years in jail and 5 more on parole.  What is now abundantly clear is that police, both the RCMP and Halifax police, withheld exculpatory evidence during the trial and were reluctant to acknowledge the disappearance of evidence later.  Related article: Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis and Jim Rankin  Toronto police board agrees to $16.5 million settlement over mass arrests at 2010 G20 summit

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis and Jim Rankin
Nearly 20 times as likely to be shot dead. Six times more likely to be taken down by a police dog. Inside a landmark report on the ‘disproportionate’ use of force on Black Torontonians

The report, the first of its kind in Ontario, credits its success to the ability as a human rights commission to compel information and records from police agencies.  At first, the report confront deaths and serious injuries of Black people by the police but “the new report homed in on lower-level force and dug deeper into different types of incidents involving police, including allegations of sexual assault.”  The report says in part:  “The gross over-representation of Black people in police lower-level use of force incidents raises concerns of systemic racism or anti-Black racial bias.”   Full Report:  Ontario Human Rights Commission –  New OHRC report confirms Black people disproportionately arrested, charged, subjected to use of force by Toronto police

Bloomberg News (US) – Ryan Williams
Why Mass Incarceration Is Looming as a Campaign Issue

Williams first defines the mass incarceration problem by reporting on the number in prison in the US and then the comparison with other nations on a population basis.  Then, a history of the build-up and the role of the 1994 Crime Bill in stretching prison populations, including the impact on minorities.  The link includes a number of reference / resources and explains Biden’s role and new policy.   Related article: N.Y. Times – Caitlin Dickerson  – A Private Security Company Is Detaining Migrant Children at Hotels – Under emergency coronavirus orders, the Trump administration is using hotels across the country to hold migrant children and families before expelling them.   Related article: Sentencing Law and Policy (US) – Blogger Douglas A. Berman:  ABA adopts resolution urging jurisdictions to repeal all felon disenfranchisement laws   (The link also has a list of resources for US legal matters at the site.